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New Reports: Tesla to Name James Murdoch Chairman to Replace Musk

Will he be able to rein in company founder’s itchy twitter finger?

by on Oct.10, 2018

James Murdoch appears to be the top choice to take over the chairman's role from Tesla founder and CEO Elon Musk.

James Murdoch, the outgoing CEO of Twenty-First Century Fox and an outside director on the Tesla board of directors, appears to be the favored candidate to replace the carmaker’s founder and CEO Elon Musk, who must relinquish the chairman’s role as part of a settlement with the SEC.

Murdoch’s name has surfaced several times since Musk agreed to step down from the chairman side of his dual role to settle charges of fraud leveled against him by the Securities and Exchange Commission for claiming Tesla had “funding secured” for a bid to go private. Musk later confirmed there was no firm plan or funding and subsequently canceled the move to privatize Tesla.

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According to a report by the Financial Times, several sources close to the discussions inside Tesla said Murdoch was a primary choice for chairman. He has been serving as a non-executive director since 2017. But while the son of Australian mogul Rupert Murdoch has extensive media experience, his time with Tesla marks his only involvement in the auto industry. (more…)

Woebcken Out as CEO of VW America, Audi Boss Keogh Takes Over

Bentley's Del Rosso takes over Audi for Keogh.

by on Oct.10, 2018

Hinrich Woebcken is out as the CEO of VW's North American operations, replaced by Audi chief Scott Keogh.

Volkswagen Group of America is shuffling the deck at the top for a new leader, but didn’t go too far to find him: former Audi of America chief Scott Keogh is replacing Hinrich Woebcken as President and CEO.

Keogh, 49, joined Audi in 2006 as Chief Marketing Officer and ascended to President in 2012. He’s played a major role in the near-luxury brand’s continuous sales growth for more than a decade. In fact, sales doubled between 2010 and 2015.

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Woebcken took over VWofA in January 2016. He came on during a difficult time for the brand as it was in the early stages of dealing with a global diesel scandal, which was uncovered by U.S. federal environmental regulators. (more…)

Volvo Scrambles as Trump Tariffs Shatter Export Plans for New U.S. Plant

China market closed, “I need to find a substitute," says US CEO.

by on Oct.10, 2018

Volvo's new plant near Charleston, S.C., is churning out new S60s. It will add the XC90 in 2021.

Volvo’s plans for its first-ever American assembly plant have been thrown into turmoil as a result of Pres. Donald Trump’s trade war with China, something that will result in fewer auto exports from the South Carolina factory, potentially impacting hiring plans, the automaker’s U.S. CEO told TheDetroitBureau.com.

Volvo initially planned to use the Charleston facility as its global source for the all-new S60 sedan, while also producing some of its popular XC90 crossovers. Fully half of the assembly plant’s production was earmarked for China and other overseas markets, noted Anders Gustafson. But the administration’s escalating trade war has resulted in China boosting tariffs on American-made vehicles and parts from 25% to 40%, even as it reduces duties on auto imports from other trade partners to 15%.

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“Now, we cannot export to China” because the S60 would be priced out of the market, Gustafson, the president and CEO of Volvo Car USA, said during an interview near Los Angeles, where the company was offering journalists a first drive of the S60. “In this segment, you can’t raise prices because of competitiveness.” (more…)

GM Lauded by EPA for Commitment to Renewable Energy

Arlington Assembly plant makes top 100 list.

by on Oct.10, 2018

GM's Arlington, Texas plant is one of the most environmentally friendly in the country.

General Motors’ Arlington Assembly plant has earned a spot on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s National Top 100 List of the largest users of green power.

The Arlington plant ranks 76 on list, earning the recognition of the Green Power Partnership effort to power all its global facilities with 100% renewable energy by 2050.

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“Receiving this recognition from the EPA is a true honor for the men and women at Arlington Assembly and UAW Local 276,” said Lamar Rucker, plant executive director at Arlington Assembly. “We take great pride in responsibly building world-class vehicles for our customers around the globe,” he said. (more…)

Trump Set to Allow Year-Round Sale of E15 Fuel

President appears to be catering to corn farmers.

by on Oct.09, 2018

President Donald Trump is expected to lift the summer time sales ban on E15 gasoline, allowing year-round sales.

President Donald Trump is looking to make farmers happy, corn farmers anyway, with plans to remove the ethanol restriction on gasoline and allow E15 blends to be sold year-round.

Currently, the blend is banned between June 1 and Sept. 15 each year because of concerns that the special blend combines with the higher summer temps to produce smog. Advocates for ethanol claim the charge is unfounded.

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E15 contains 15% ethanol while most gasolines are already made up of 10% ethanol.  (more…)

Faraday Fritters Away Funding, Future Fading Fast — Again

Company not paying vendors while fighting with investor.

by on Oct.08, 2018

More than 300 Faraday workers gathered at the plant last weekend to help clean it up.

Less than a year after it was rumored to be out of money, budding electric vehicle maker Faraday Future appears to be out of money again — even after getting an $800 million infusion from a Chinese conglomerate.

According to a filing with Hong Kong Stock Exchange, the healthcare division of Chinese real estate group Evergrande is accusing Faraday Future founder and CEO Jia Yueting of trying to back out of the deal the two sides made in January.

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Evergrande officials claim that Jia blew through the $800 million and wanted another $700 million, and say they will take “all necessary actions” to protect itself and its shareholders. Conversely, Jia claims the company agreed to make two payments and after making the first, is trying to get out of the second, a $700 million payment due in 2019. (more…)

VW Back in the Global Sales Lead, But Toyota Returns to #2

Final months of 2018 could bring an epic battle.

by on Oct.08, 2018

Volkswagen appears to be the top selling automaker in the world with less than three months left in the year.

With 2018 quickly drawing to a close, Volkswagen appears to have cemented the global sales crown to its corporate head, rapidly gaining ground from its two closest competitors.

But rivals Toyota and the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance are facing a classic, neck-and-neck battle that could see them fighting it out until the last sale is counted, according to data compiled by research firm Focus2Move, for second place.

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One long-time contender, meanwhile, has dropped out of the race entirely. General Motors, which led the global auto industry for more than seven decades, is well out of the running after selling off its European Opel subsidiary and shuttering operations in several other markets, including Russia and India. (more…)

Strong Demand, Interest Rates Causing Jump in Used Car Prices

Compact, midsize sedans driving the shift.

by on Oct.08, 2018

Used vehicle prices are on the rise and that's unlikely to change in the near term, especially for compact and midsize sedans.

Car buyers looking for a deal by getting a used car are going to be sorely disappointed — used vehicle prices are on the rise.

According to the latest data from Manheim, used vehicle values set a new record for the third month in a row, which is unusual. The abnormal summer bounce began in mid-June and drove prices higher for 11 straight weeks.

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That changed some with the arrival of September, which saw several weeks of normalizing depreciation. However, it wasn’t enough to offset the overall jump in prices as 3-year-old vehicles are now worth 4.5% more than they would normally be worth had typical depreciation occurred through July and August, according to Manheim. (more…)

Musk Under Fire Again, This Time From His Supporters

Tesla CEO slammed for attack on SEC; his latest twitter storm could cause problems with settlement.

by on Oct.08, 2018

Tesla CEO Elon Musk cannot help himself, taking a shot at the SEC via Twitter.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk is taking heat again, this time from supporters, as well as his long list of critics, for his attack on the Securities and Exchange Commission.

After reaching a deal with the SEC early this month that forced him to step down as Tesla chairman, the 47-year-old executive fired off the latest in an ongoing series of tweets dubbing the federal agency the “Shortseller Enrichment Commission.” That was a reference to the investors who have been betting on Tesla stock to fall and who have become one of Musk’s biggest concerns.

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Musk came under the SEC microscope after tweeting in August about a supposed plan to take the battery-carmaker private. Federal regulators subsequently accused the Tesla founder of making “false and misleading” claims, finding no basis to support the proposal and, in particular, Musk’s initial tweet stating “Funding secured.” The SEC could have completely barred the exec from serving in any capacity on a public company and it could have levied substantially more fines than the $14 million penalty Musk had to pay. (more…)

Ford Redesigning Company Structure, Salaried Job Cuts Coming in ’19

Number of white collar jobs to be shed unknown right now.

by on Oct.05, 2018

Ford CEO Jim Hackett has talked about a turnaround at the automaker and now it looks like it's happening.

Ford Motor Co. CEO Jim Hackett has talked about making the automaker a more “fit” company going forward, and now it’s clear what that means: salaried job cuts.

The automaker is “redesigning” its white collar workforce to be leaner, have few layers and offer the remaining employees more power to make decisions, and implement those decisions more quickly.

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Currently, Ford employs 70,000 salaried workers, among its more than 285,000 overall employees worldwide. Of that total, about 85,000 work in the U.S. The number of jobs that will be cut is unknown at this point as the plan is still be formulated. (more…)